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My teenage daughter only seems to read books about vampires and werewolves. Should I be worried? How do I get her to read “proper” books?

First of all, congratulations! Your daughter reads.  That in itself is excellent.

Secondly, don’t make the mistake of thinking books about vampires and werewolves are not “proper” books.  I personally don’t think there is such a thing.  The better paranormal romances have an epic quality to them which can be thrilling and provides welcome escapism to many girls, and there’s nothing wrong with a bit of escapism.

More worrying, I agree, is the fact that she reads nothing else, but remember that the teen years are often characterised by obsession. I’d be wary of trying to wean her off them too soon. The most likely outcome is that your daughter’s interest in these books will pass of its own accord. Don’t underestimate the gap they may leave behind when they start to bore her.  To you these may just be books about vampires and werewolves, but to her they are a whole world, a mythology.  They may not excite her anymore but she will miss them, and she may even go off reading for a while.  This is the moment when you come in, but be careful – your idea of a proper book may not be the same as hers, and I honestly believe the most important thing at this stage is to keep her reading.  Ask her what she loved in those books.  Was it the strong themes, the romance, the elaborate world building? Think about books which resonated with you in the same way, either when you were her age or more recently, and help her move on to the next phase of her reading.

For what it’s worth, two books that worked in our house when my 14-year-old had finally run the course of paranormal romance were Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn and Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love. Very different! I’m not saying these will work for everybody, but it’s interesting that these are both books with some romance, and engrossing and memorable settings.

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